Mothers Against Drunk Driving get MADD

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is an alcohol abuse prevention program that seeks to educate children, teens, and adults about the dangers of alcohol abuse mixed with highway driving.

MADD was established in California in 1980 by concerned citizens wanting to affect a different perception of the acceptability of driving after drinking alcohol, and its devastating effects on the safety of our society.

The history of Mothers Against Drunk Driving stems from tragedy and determination. As the result of the tragic death of her daughter at the hands of drunk driver, Candace Lightner and friends took action. The problem wasn’t just that he was drunk at the time of the crash. What was worse, was that he had two previous drunk driving convictions at the time.   MADD’s founders were determined to stop this madness.

MADD has gone from a small group of determined women gathered in a Sacramento steakhouse, to a massive organization with over 600 chapters nationwide.

One of many measures MADD urged law enforcement to take against drunk drivers was to set up frequent, visible sobriety checkpoints in hopes of reducing fatalities by 20 percent.

Another important idea was stricter seat belt usage laws. Enforcement could be used to save thousands of lives and prevent additional injuries on the public roads.

Alcohol abuse and prevention programs for teens were created, which included parent and student “I Won’t Drink and Drive” contracts. Volunteers passed out flyers, made phone calls to Congressional members, gave interviews on TV and radio and visited schools to spread the word about their program.

By 1982, there were 100 nationwide chapters. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan raised the drinking age to 21 and in 1986 Project Red Ribbon was introduced to promote safe driving during the winter. The first issue of MADDvocate magazine rolled off the presses in 1988 and was distributed nationwide.

MADD marked 1991 by releasing their report, “Rating the States”, showing all 50 U.S. states and their involvement in anti-drunk driving measures.

But this group still wasn’t satisfied. In 1998, as a result of MADD’s determination, the Zero Tolerance legislation was passed in all 50 states.

Their 600th chapter was created in the year 2000.

Year 2002 saw the creation of a MADD website which catered to the Spanish-speaking population of America and also the creation of the Path of Hope alcohol awareness program designed specifically for Native American tribes.

As of July 2004, all 50 states have passed the .08 BAC law, thanks to the enduring efforts of Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers.

As a result of MADD’s efforts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported alcohol-related traffic fatalities statistics have decreased 2.1% between 2003 and 2004. This figure translates into 16,654 deaths which occurred during this time period from preventable drunk driving. While this number in itself is not impressive, it has plummeted from a high of 26,173 alcohol-related deaths, which were recorded in 1982.

As a society spearhead, the MADD organization sends out a firm message that drinking and driving will not be tolerated. Prevention education and awareness programs, new laws and stiff penalties are developed and enforced every year to help get this critical message across to Americans of all ages and backgrounds.

As with MADD, we are dedicated to getting drunk drivers off the roads.  Our goal is to reach the drinking public between the bar and the car – to alert bar patrons to possible alcohol impairment before they get behind the wheel.  Combined with a profit motive, you can “make money and save lives”.